Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Franz Ferdinand @ The Underground

8 years ago I got to see Franz Ferdinand at Coachella, so I was a little surprised to see them at a small venue like The Underground.  It least the venue was filled.  Quite a nice bar, and a great sound in the venue, but again with a VIP area.  Give me a break.

Franz Ferdinand walked out to rapturous applause and set the tone of rock from the the first song. Do You Want To was an early favorite as the band excelled in their jumpy stop-start then changing tempo sound.  The crowd and band were feeding off each other well.  The more the crowd was into it, the more the band had fun.  That circle continued to the build up of Take Me Out - where the place went nuts.  Ulysses finished off the main set, but Franz Ferdinand were not done.  A 3 song encore was topped off with a wildly loved This Fire, sending the crowd into one last final frenzy.

Very glad I came to this show.  While I'm not an avid listener to Franz Ferdinand they were so good at Coachella that I wanted to see how they'd do in a smaller setting.  Tyey definitely did not disappoint.

Franz Ferdinand Setlist The Underground, Charlotte, NC, USA 2017, 2017 North American Tour

The Crap Facts:
This is my 424th concert.
The Underground is the 120th venue I've seen a concert.
This is my 59th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 66th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 229th concert in the USA.
This is my 2nd Franz Ferdinand concert.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Sonics & Dex Romweber Duo @ Neighborhood Theater

I was as excited for this concert as I have been forever.  Ever since seeing Jack White talk about Flat Duo Jets on the It May Get Loud movie I have wanted to see a version of this band.  And now Dex Romweber is opening for The Sonics.  The Sonics!  The original garage / punk band!  For Christmas I got a record player and a $50 gift voucher from Lunchbox Records.  Amongst other things I bought Here Are The Sonics, and rarely has another album got a spin.

Was surprised to see a small stage set up next to the bar, and the big room curtained off.  I got there right on 8pm as Romweber was due to take the stage and there was only a small crowd.  (Charlotte wouldn't know great rock if it blasted them in the face.)  He and his drummer then proceeded to school everyone in high speed 12 bar blues, surf rock, rockabilly.  And then every other song was an Elvis-esque slower number.  What a performance!

You know if Dex Romweber is your opener then you need to put on an awesome show to even come close to satisfying your fans.  And that is exactly what The Sonics did....

Sonics saxophonist Rob Lynd was interviewed for Creative Loafing this week and seemed excited to play for a now-home crowd in the story.  That was nothing.  His beaming smile lit up the room as he walked out on stage and never left over the next 90 minutes.  From the get go the crowd was having a blast.  (At one point I looked around and every single person in the small venue was dancing.)  Have Love, Will Travel is one of my favorite songs, so to hear it live was amazing.  A sped up Keep A Knockin', Louie Louie and the Kinks' Hard Way were 3 great songs in a row.  Boss Hoss and Money blew everyone away and to finish the night, Psycho, where everyone went...well...psycho.  After a quick break The Sonics were back on stage to tear through a 3 song encore, finishing the night with a wildly fun version of The Witch.

Overall only The Cure at PNC Pavilion last year can rate as good a show as I've seen in Charlotte.  Last night was amazing!  Dex Romweber and The Sonics are the perfect combination for a valued rock and roll show.  Anytime they come back to town or nearby, I'll be there.

(PS. Neighborhood Theater can you please do something about your air-conditioning.  I sweated buckets again last night before the bands even started.)

The Sonics Setlist Neighborhood Theatre, Charlotte, NC, USA 2017

The Crap Facts:
This is my 423rd concert.
This is my 2nd concert at Neighborhood Theater.
This is my 58th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 65th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 228th concert in the USA.
Dex Romweber Duo are the 492nd band I've seen.
The Sonics are the 493rd band I've seen.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Weezer @ CMCU Amphitheater

As always when I buy a ticket for Amy to see a concert at this outdoor venue, the weather turns for the worse.  Barenaked Ladies and Violent Femmes 2 years ago, and Ray Lamontaine and Counting Crows last year.  The weather, combined with Leland's illness, meant I ended up going solo.

Upon arrival I was charged $5 for parking, an unwelcome first after coming here for 25 odd shows in the last 4 years.  That and the sticker shock of a $14 Corona means, for me, the concert experience is slowly deteriorating (sorry, old man rant over....for now).  I had general admission tickets for tonight's show and that area was packed.  What surprised me was the amount of empty seats closer to the stage, and the lack of effort by the venue to try and get people to fill them.  Considering they will suck the money out of your wallet for parking and a beer, you'd think they's sell those seats for a few extra bucks to get the area in front of the band full.  I would've thought the band would prefer that, but that's why I'm an Uber driver and not the venue manager.

Because of the threat of rain I didn't arrive until Weezer were due on stage, missing Catfish and The Bottlemen.  Anyway 15 minutes late Weezer strode on and straight into the ever catchy Hash Pipe.  Followed by My Name Is Jonas, it was a great start to the show.  A mid-section lull was diminished by Beverly Hills and then Undone, Island In The Sun and Say It Ain't So.  And then they walked off stage.  It was just 45 minutes.  Are you fucking kidding me?  May they were coming back for another set?  Nope!  An encore of El Scorcho and Buddy Holly before signing off for the night.  Don't get me wrong, the songs they picked for the set were great, but one hour and that's it?  At least the rain held off.

Short sets seem to be a common theme for Weezer shows.  I've written that twice before.  I've always enjoyed Weezer's music and when they play live they are good, but when it comes to value for money, I think this might be my last show of theirs for a while.

Weezer Setlist Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre, Charlotte, NC, USA 2017

The Crap Facts:
This is my 422nd concert.
This is my 5th concert at CMCU Amphitheater.
This is my 57th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 64th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 227th concert in the USA.
This is my 5th Weezer concert.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Midnight Oil & Boytoy @ Fillmore, Silver Spring, MD

I honestly thought this day may never come again.  It's been 19 years since I last saw the Oils (a hometown gig at the Ming in 98 - with my mum!).  Then they retired just after I should of seen them with Regs in 2002.  But now they're back.  And even that didn't guarantee anything.  I forgot about tickets going on sale and Atlanta had sold out before I got the chance.  A few weeks later I found a ticket for the Silver Spring show and bought it before working out how to get there.  Fortunately a free United ticket made it easy to get to DC.  So here I am! OILS!

Boytoy had an unenviable task of opening to a crowd dying to see the Oils again.  However, they handled it magnificently!  Their surf/rock sound was sharp and the 3 ladies from Brooklyn made the crowd forget why they were there for 45 minutes.  Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl was my favorite of the night.  Loved the no bass sound of their set.  Hope to see them come through Charlotte soon.

Boytoy Setlist The Fillmore Silver Spring, Silver Spring, MD, USA 2017

I could not have asked for a better venue to see the return of the Oils than the Fillmore in Silver Spring.  I was up front in front of Bones and had a clear view of stage and the audience.  When they started the set with Profiteers and Progress I thought we were going to be in for an old school night.  The kind all Aussies who grew up on Head Injuries and Place Without A Postcard would want.  But we're in the US, and they have a different set of favorites here, and Midnight Oil were very accommodating to that.  Blossom & Blood was great but then there was a lot of slower stuff, like they were catching their breath.  It was not until the last third of the set, when they fired up Power & The Passion, that I was back into it fully.  Beds Are Burning set the crowd alight (no pun intended) and Blue Sky Mine closed out the main set.  The Dead Heart and Dreamworld was a great encore, but they weren't finished as they came back, much to the delight of the sold-out Fillmore and played Tin Legs and King Of The Mountain, which got the best reaction of the night.

Don't get me wrong, it was worth the flight to DC, the traffic to Silver Spring, and the shitty accommodation near the airport to see one of my all time favorite bands.  But remember, my dad had been playing Midnight Oil in our house for 40 years, and I loved all that early stuff.  As it is, a band with a large catalog can only play so many songs.  While I'd have killed to hear US Forces, Stand In Line and Don't Wanna Be The One, I think I'd have to head back to Australia to do so.  Great to see them back.  Hope they continue to tour - and maybe play at the Fillmore in Charlotte next time instead.

Midnight Oil Setlist The Fillmore Silver Spring, Silver Spring, MD, USA 2017, The Great Circle 2017 World Tour

The Crap Facts:
This is my 421st concert.
The Fillmore is the 119th venue I've seen a concert.
Silver Spring is the 51st city I've seen a concert.
Maryland is the 15th state I've seen a concert.
This is my 226th concert in the USA.
Boytoy are the 491st band I've seen.
This is my 6th Midnight Oil concert.